“Stand up if you identify as Caucasian.”What if the questions had been about interests, hobbies and clubs? For example, what if they had said, "Stand up if you like to work on old cars." Instead of being segregated into groups suspicious of each other, they would have been collected into circles of friendship. Think about it.
The minister’s voice was solemn. I paused so that I wouldn’t be the first one standing, and then slowly rose to my feet. “Look at your community,” he said. I glanced around the auditorium obediently. The other students looked as uncomfortable as I felt, and as white. ¨Thank you,” the minister said finally. After we sat down, he went on to repeat the exercise for over an hour with different adjectives in place of “Caucasian”: black, wealthy, first-generation, socially conservative. Each time he introduced a new label, he paused so that a new group of students could stand and take note of one another. By the time he was finished, every member of Princeton University’s freshman class had been branded with a demographic.
What happens when people who like to work on old cars get together? They discuss project cars, dream cars, engines, sources of parts, exotics and the like. They never discuss people who don't work on cars. It's a bond of camaraderie, not an us-versus-them thing.
As a concrete example, if Tim and I ever met, we'd discuss insects, photography, blogging and the like. I doubt we'd spend any time at all talking about people who weren't like us. Interests and hobbies are positive things. Race and sexual orientation are potentially very negative things as it's so easy to start talking about them, the ones who don't look like you or don't have the same sexuality.
Finally, the request, “Stand up if you identify as Caucasian” is one made by imbeciles and losers. If you're the kind of person with lots of interesting passions, the last thing you want to talk about is the color of your skin.